There is no doubting whose daughter this is…
Not only did she ask to get her hair cut short aged 5 (I did the same aged 7), but for her birthday manicure/pedicure treat she went for blue toes and neon hands (non-matching obvs)…
I can’t think where she gets her independent streak from…And I couldn’t feel prouder.
Because despite the fact that it has often been a MAJOR source of irritation to me – let’s face it, independent thought and obedience don’t fit that well together – I couldn’t wish more for a young girl growing up in this day and age.
For the world out there is tough. Social media is pervasive. Opinions on what a woman should do, look like, feel, eat, wear and how they should behave have never been stronger.
So women’s empowerment needs to start young. And it is our duty as parents to model this at home. Which doesn’t mean allowing our daughters to disregard all of the house “rules” and run amok (no, no, no – I’m a Gina-Ford-parenting-control-freak, remember?) but it does mean allowing them to express themselves in whichever way feels real to them. Because THIS is (time for my buzz word here) AUTHENTICITY.
Because children do have their own, unique voices and opinions, even at a young age. And if we stifle those by overruling them with OUR needs and desires, all the time, just because we have been put “in charge” as parents, then they quickly learn that theirs are not valued and therefore that there is no point in articulating them.
And in a society that doesn’t value women as highly as it does men as a whole, this damage lasts well into adulthood. Until we take the momentous leap of faith required to trust in ourselves again. To listen to our intuition. To our excitement (that’s a yes!) and to our hesitation (that’s probably a no!). Sound familiar?
If we weren’t allowed to speak our minds when we were little, we quickly fall out of practise. Because it is a muscle that needs constant stimulation.
So whilst it may seem like a small thing to have acted upon her desire to cut her hair short, and an even smaller thing to let her choose her own nail varnish colour, it isn’t. It is huge. And there are so many parents our there vetoing similar choices. Which is such a shame. Because I saw with my own eyes how her behaviour changed from one day to the next: I have a voice! It counts! I can use it to express myself!
Women’s empowerment starts at home. It starts with our girls. Whatever their age. I DARE YOU…